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Water treatment is a highly industrial process

Many people are not concerned about the quality of the water coming out of their taps, but perhaps they should be.

The Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands are warning. Water treatment plants remove a large proportion of undesirable substances from ground and surface water, but not everything. Everyone agrees on that.

Water treatment is a highly industrial process. Coagulation, sand filtration, sedimentation , soil passage, ozone treatment, softening and carbon filtration are part of it. And yes there are 60 or so substances controlled, but there are some 60 000 substances that we would rather not have in our water. The multi-barrier purification plants used in the Netherlands and Belgium offer partial assurances, but tap water is not pure. Read along.

Is tap water the most strictly controlled food item?
NO, tap water is not the most strictly controlled foodstuff. It is only controlled at 67 points. Water companies do this at the source, after purification and disinfection of tap water and at the tap, but that is certainly not enough. Bottled natural mineral water is checked during production, when it is in bottles and often at more points than tap water.

What happens to tap water after maintenance or adjustments to the pipes?
After maintenance work on the water pipes, according to the water supply companies, it is a must to boil the tap water for 5 minutes before using it for consumption. Have you not used the tap for a longer period of time? Get the advice to run the faucet to flush out any accumulation of germs and/or metals in the pipes. Leaks in water pipes, both at utilities and in the home, are common. All of this has implications for water quality.

Rainwater would not be healthy enough to wash myself with?
Is industrially processed tap water? There are quite a few chemicals added to tap water. Chemicals such as bleach, chlorine gas, aluminum sulfate, sulfuric acid, caustic soda, methanol …

Are there asbestos fibers (asbestos cement) in your tap water?
Yes, a significant portion of the drinking water network still consists of pipes made of asbestos fiber cement. The drinking water company says that asbestos is only harmful when inhaled and not when ingested orally. There is no standard, neither worldwide nor European. There is a chance that asbestos fibers could be released into tap water, but the chance is small according to the water company since the asbestos would be trapped in the concrete. As long as the tap water is not acidic, the chance of asbestos fibers in your drinking water would be minimal. Nevertheless, the quality report of the Flemish water company found asbestos fiber.

Why is hot tap water not drinkable?
Water heated in boilers no longer has the same quality as cold tap water. Due to the heating, chemical processes occur, the water changes composition, contains less oxygen, no longer tastes good and can contain harmful nitrite according to the water company.

What about corrosion and rusting in tap water?
Hot water accelerates corrosion and rusting. This also means that the water company realizes that the pipes are aging and that corrosion and rusting will gradually occur. Due to corrosion, hot water may contain more copper, iron, zinc or/and lead. Do not cook with hot water or make tea from it, the water company warns.

The water company continues to issue warnings.
Stagnant water, from water pipes that have not been used for a while, picks up substances from the pipes. These include lead, iron and copper. In addition, stagnant water (as well as running water) forms a biofilm on the inside wall of the pipes where bacteria quickly feel at home. As a result, water companies recommend running the water first thing in the morning or after being away for a while before using it. For drinking and cooking, run the faucet for a while first. This is how you prevent microbial contamination warns the water company.

Different water pipes different water taste.
Tap water is not a natural product. It is a highly industrial product. Depending on the company and the pipes, tap water will taste different.

After purifying and disinfecting river water and surface water, the water runs through miles of pipes and fittings. Old pipes, new pipes, asbestos-cement pipes, plastic pipes made of PE or PVC, lead and copper pipes and galvanized steel pipes. All of these pipes have reaction to the water and release substances into the tap water. None of these pipes are kosher for your health. And then we have all the fittings that connect the pipes. Welding points, soldering points, adhesives, etc.

Chlorine in tap water is disastrous for your intestinal flora.
The water company believes that adding a little chlorine to tap water is essential as a disinfection method. With chlorine, a lot of bacteria cannot survive, both in tap water and in your intestines. In addition, chlorine has a long-lasting effect (also in your intestines).

In addition, chlorine in tap water can react with other substances, causing very harmful by-products to be formed in the tap water you drink. No health risk says the water company because they add under a certain limit of 0.25mg of chlorine per liter. Chlorine you taste and smell. The water company offers a solution for the smell. Put lemon juice in your tap water. Odor is then largely camouflaged but its antibacterial effect remains, even in your gut.

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is clear: chlorine binds to our fat in the body. A sticky substance forms on the walls of the arteries. And chlorine breaks down vitamin E. Chlorine is not only bad for your gut health, but it is also carcinogenic and possibly accelerates arteriosclerosis (heart and blood vessels).

Is there nitrate in my tap water?
Yes and sometimes a lot. In Belgium there is a maximum of 50mg. nitrate per liter in the tap water. In contact with other substances nitrate can be converted into nitrite, which is harmful. The water company advises infants with weak stomachs and intestines not to drink tap water but to look for water low in nitrates. Sometimes methanol is added to prevent worse. Testaankoop found slightly too high concentrations of nitrates in Belgium. More than 25mg/liter. (2013 publication).

Is there lead in my tap water?
YES and lead is extremely toxic. The intake of lead through drinking tap water is (usually) limited, but present. Lead is already toxic in very small amounts. The Belgian government has imposed a maximum standard of 10 micrograms per liter for lead.

Most lead in tap water comes from corrosion or migration of pipes, but lead is also present in welds, joints and other parts of pipes. And there are quite a few lead pipes in the utility lines themselves (as well as in homes, factories and offices). Lead dissolves easily in water. It breaks down iron, calcium and iron in our bodies. In addition, it affects the nervous system. Just micrograms of lead per liter is pernicious to baby and fetus. Lead poisoning in schools and day care centers are a great danger to small children.

Are there pesticides in tap water?
Yes, there are. The water company says it is well below the standard, but the standard is being relaxed In Belgium, tap water is drawn mainly from the Albert Canal and major rivers such as the Meuse, but also from groundwater. Activated carbon in water purification removes a large proportion of pesticides from the polluted water.

Environment Minister Kelchtermans relaxed the standard for the weedkiller atrazine X 10 in tap water. Without an increase in this standard, purification companies would now be having a very difficult time.

Zitten er medicijnen en drugs in kraantjeswater?
Ja, onder de norm en dus volgens de watermaatschappij perfect drinkbaar. De watermaatschappij geeft toe dat resten van medicijnen en drugs in het kraanwater aanwezig zijn, maar binnen de norm. “Er werden wel eens medicijnresten gemeten in het Nederlands kraanwater” stelde professor van de technische universiteit te Delft. “Mega weinig, maar wel een cocktail van minstens 1600 medicijnresten.”

The drinking water report issued on November 5, 2018 is alarming.

Let me give you a brief list of the most alarming facts:

The most standard violations were found for lead, nickel, enterococci, E. colli and nitrite !!!
In 2018, 12 public buildings were advised not to use their tap water for human consumption because of high lead levels.
A 50% exceedance of the standard for arsenic, bromate, fluoride, nitrate, nitrite and trihalomethanes was observed in at least one delivery area.
In 2017, tap water was monitored for only 28 pesticides. Maximum standard values for atrazine, bentazone, metolachlor, bam and fish-O1 were exceeded by 50%.
In 2017 alone, regulators received 9 reports of a potentially serious public health hazard. Reason, bacteriological contamination of tap water.
According to the 2018 water quality report, tap water was sometimes found to contain arsenic, cadmium, chlorite, copper, always fluoride, almost always lead and sulfate, often aluminum and sometimes E coli and enterococci.
The water quality report reported testing for 13 types of pesticides.

Is there cadmium in tap water?
Sometimes there is carcinogenic cadmium in our tap water. Below the maximum permissible values, but if tap water has been stagnant in galvanized pipes for about 8 hours, then the maximum permissible standard is often reached. Making coffee in the morning is a risk of cadmium intake through tap water. Cadmium is stored by the body in the liver and kidneys. Cadmium can cause fetal abnormalities (teratogenic). Cadmium is additionally a calcium predator.

Is there arsenic in tap water?
Yes, there is arsenic in our tap water, but below the maximum permissible standard. Arsenic affects organs and contributes to tumors and irritations of the skin and mucous membranes.

Is there aluminum in tap water?
Limitedly, the water companies say. They realize than aluminum is harmful to the nervous system and has been linked to Alzheimer’s. Alumium sulfate, aluminum polyhydroxichloride, alumium fluoride sulfate, sodium alumium diate and aluminum polyhydroxichloride sulfate are added in the treatment process.